Outdoor Education

Trying new things through a progressively challenging outdoor education program.

One of the most unique attributes of an Explorer West Middle School education is the value of our Outdoor Education Program. It provides our students with some of the most important experiences of their young lives outside of the classroom and continues to grow in scope and size. It gives them an opportunity to connect in spectacular ways with their peers, their teachers, and their outdoor community.

Students participate in a progressively challenging curriculum that starts in 6th grade with an introduction to the outdoors while camping at Fort Worden State Park, extends to winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing, and culminates in 8th grade with a challenging 20+ mile backpack trip along the Olympic Coast.

The program focuses on integrating skills from previous years (ie. camp cooking, trail maintenance, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, etc.) and building on those skills in order to provide students for further opportunities at self-sufficiency, community building, leadership, and a greater appreciation of wild places.

One of the main goals of our program is to prepare our students for a lifetime of safe, fun, sustainable outdoor adventures in the beautiful, variable, and wild Pacific Northwest.

7th graders’ first “hike in” camping trip.

Outdoor Education - Main program elements by grade:

6th Grade7th Grade8th Grade
An introduction to the outdoors and tide studies at Fort Worden State Park; Winter: Students build their own snowshoes from sustainable willow and other materials and learn snow shelter building and survival skills; Spring: Basic car camping and trail maintenance at Moran State Park.Base camping at various alpine lakes in the Cascades; Winter: Students learn cross-country skiing and intermediate snow safety lessons; Spring: Base camping and learning the biodiversity of Eastern Washington near Yakima/Ellensburg canyons.Base camping/Backpacking in Mt. Rainier National Park; Winter: Off-trail snowshoeing and cross country skiing and incorporating avalanche safety training and route finding skills at Snoqualmie Pass; Spring: Backpacking the famed coastal wilderness of Olympic National Park.